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tell. but it would be overturned as against the constitution. i do not know why they have not. i understand why we hagetting te health cocare bill through, but we must get the do not ask do not tell. no republicans are going to vote for this and i think he does. instead of saying the kinds of things i say, which is why he's there and i'm here -- [applause] >> -- but the fact of the matter is he needs to let the republicans people for themselves. i think what he's doing is exactly the right thing. look, the generation that elected him, which would really like to see cooperation. he knows they're not going to >> it has been delightful having you. thank you for coming in speaking to us. if you come up with any ideas, please let us know. >> i got turned down a lot of times and has go. i promise you i will work not just because i want the support. i believe i'm a representative first. get any, but as long as he allows the american people to see the republicans for what they're really advertising, which is no way, no how, jim dement spoke perfectly for the republican party, we're not cooperate willing, because we want to kill health care reform so we can get obama. i don't think the american people are going to buy that i think the american people do want bipartisanship. i think it would be a bad idea for the president of the united states to say we don't want bipartisanship. the republicans are getting
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i love these town halls. i'm a congressperson produced the cannot do it unless you are communicating with everyone. >> it is your turn for the elevator pitch. . . pitch. you are trapped in an elevator with a blogger, and you have two minutes to explain why they should support you in the primary. >> i have been very fortunate. closer every day and chuck grassley in fact said that and he was one of the few who talked about it. i think this tactic of allowing the republicans to eventually show their true colors to the american people, it requires a lot of patience and i think it's very smart, but as long as nobody thinks that bipartisanship is more important than having a good bill, because having a bipartisan bill that doesn't do anything is much worse and much more expensive than having a good bill, even if we don't get a single republican vote. [applause] i have done everything i have wanted to do in life, commanded a ship. a ship. i got 47. i could not get a prom date, could not get someone to marry me. then my daughter had her tumor. and not in this to pay back. you go throughout this state, this wonderful place, where it is the birthplace of freedom, >> i want to ask you about co-ops, you're from a rural stays, there's some centers saying we should try the co-op option before we have go to a public option. there have people who have pointed out the problems with that. rural electric co-ops never get
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and people are hurt, and we've begun -- we forgot. when i see a man in the county and ask him how is the recession hurting you? he says not that bad because we were hurting so much anyways. something happened to the united states. i believe this president has it right. i wish we were more bold and more aggressive, but i believe enougharket share to compete with bigger electric utility companies. what's your reaction on the coops and do you think there's any ground there for, you know, middle ground or whatever? >> first of all, the author of the co-ops is a guy named kent conrad, who is one of my favorite people in the senate. i like him a lot but he's absolutely wrong about this. this is a political crow mice, not a policy compromise and it he is on the right path. this is the most tragic moment we have had in the history of america, since the great depression and world war ii, and i want to be part of the team of leadership, accountable leadership leadership that says, these are the facts, and that is how you have to see it. but i want our children to be all they can be in their educational opportunity, because will not work. now, let me just -- i was on a panel with doug, who was its omb manager for president bush, i think he was -- he was an economic adviser for senator mccain. he does what he's talking about. he's on president bush's council of economic policies. he's very conservative. he thinks the co-ops are a waste. here's why. first of all, they're too small
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we need them to lead america again. health care reform is an absolute requirement. the dividend we get from it in the navy is what you see in how we accomplished our jobs. america has to have that. in our economy, it is what it is about. entrepreneurialship should be the norm, not the exception. to have all the answers? absolutely not. experience? yes, i dealt with sailors on a to do their good. second of all, we've already tried this in this country. blue cross-blue shield used to be a non-profit, public company with members running on the board and they got eaten up and killed and crushed by the private insurance industry. most blue crosses today are in an anthem or something like that, which bailiffs exactly like all the other insurance companies. they stick it to you if you get sick, they won't have you if you look sick, they're not really insurance companies anymore. nuclear ship, but the average age was 19. i just want pennsylvania to have leadership in the future that is working for them, and i promised to do that every day. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. >> i would love to follow up, thank you. i don't think we want to help anything that does -- that makes it easier for the insurance industry is probably in this bill, is probably not taking us in the direction we want to go. we want the insurance companies to serve us better and not put more money into what they already do. and the long -- in the long range, the co-ops will fail because they'll be too small and they'll get -- the insurance company is going
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[applause] >> a thank you. thank you to both candidates, to everyone who put this together. >> pennsylvania republicans the senate candidate pat toomey is among the speakers for the americans for prosperity foundation conference. then president obama at a health care town hall meeting in montana, followed by a conversation with howard dean on
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health care. >> three days of peace, love, and music. 40 years ago, a half-million people gathered for woodstock. saturday, the co-founder takes us behind the scenes at 9:00 p.m. eastern. radio talk-show executive brian jennings on the new fairness doctrine, why is a bad idea, and alternatives to censure sai -- century ship. >> now a convention of on-line activists that organizers called the rightonline conference. it is a two-day gathering to counter the netroots nation
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gathering also this week. this is about an hour. >> in 1824, thomas jefferson surmised that the country had more machinery than was necessary. with nearly five trillion dollars in debt, massive government and titles, and the budget deficit approaching $2 trillion, his words have never been more true. americans for prosperity foundation plays a crucial role in reversing this government tide. together, informed americans can stop government takeovers.
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together, informed americans can stand for common sense. together, informed americans can unleash the limit this talent that made our nation great. together, informed americans can save freedom. thank you for standing up and speaking out. >> once again, please welcome americans for prosperity foundation president tim phillips. [applause] >> the voice is coming home with me. it would in it be great if you came down stairs in the morning, ladies and gentlemen, now entering the room -- maybe not.
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two things. i look at where we stand right now. we did a rally if you moment ago. the usa today gallup poll came out yesterday. did many of you see that? only a few of you did. if you ever wonder -- the number one question i get is how do i make a difference? can i as an individual make a difference for my country and my freedoms? if you ever have wanted to know, i want you to look at this gallup poll that they talked about yesterday. they actually asked the question. the town hall meetings, the rallies, the defense, all that is happening right now across the country, does it make you more sympathetic to the protesters, to the americans out there doing these events, and to what they stand for, or does it
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make you more sympathetic to the health care plan that is coming out of washington? it was a pretty fair question, i thought. not where you stand on the issue back in reaction to these meetings and rallies that you are seeing, how does it make you feel about the protesters and what is coming out of washington i was encouraged to see that by a wide margin, americans said i like what the protesters and the folks doing the meetings are doing. that should encourage you end up all the bus. -- and encourage all of us. that is what everyone looks at. they asked independents this question and by a two to one margin, 35% to 16%, they said those protests makes me
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sympathetic to the protesters then to the washington elite. i will tell you something. take heart. when you see us being vilified as a un-american or evil-mongers which harry reid said a few days ago. when you hear all the attacks and demeaning you and me the activities we are undertaking on behalf of freedom, take heart because the american public is looking at the other side's attacks on us and they are looking at their preposterous stands on this issue. their statements on the issue. they are siding with us. americans are about common sense and they get when their freedoms are its stake and they stand up and fight when -- for those freedoms and your in the vanguard. i am encouraged by the poll numbers. i want to take a moment and tell
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you about americans for prosperity and americans for prosperity foundation. it started four and a half years ago. it was an idea that asked a question. we know that whenever there is a budget fight or tax battle, whether in washington or state capital, we know there are going to be people on the big government side. you always see that. maybe that is the public employee union standing up and saying we need the money for this government service. maybe it is for the radical environmentalists saying we need that money to save the environment and so -- safe polar bears and everything else they are for. they have their groups out there standing up. they are organized usually around getting something from government as garver norquist pointed out. he is here tonight. he pointed this out. they want something from government. our side simply wants to be left
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alone. it is harder to explain to our people that you have to get involved. afp answer the question, can you go out and build a grass-roots organization locally, city by city and state by state to fight on free-market issues? are there enough people who will get involved and defend their economic freedoms to build an organization? we did not know the answer to that question. there were a couple of business guys who said let's try this and we will put a little bit of money behind this. we started in three states. kansas, north carolina, and texas. those three states in 2004 and we started having our own town hall meetings before it became the thing to do. we started holding events on the issues. we started talking about tax issues and spending. we found something that was incredibly -- encouraging and
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exciting. this was during the bush years. it was a difficult time out there. we found that people would get involved. they would go to rallies and events. they would call an e-mail their legislators demanding it. we had our first battle in the state of kansas. we have our steed directors. we work together along with a number of kansans across the state. there was a democratic government and a republican legislator -- legislature and we [unintelligible] we did not have it. what we did was to go back into the districts of the house and senate members in kansas and we went to work. we got people to call and go to their office hours to write letters and e-mails to them. you know what? we found that among the half
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later when the boats to place, we had beaten the tax increase that was a done deal in kansas. we thought maybe we have got something here. [applause] we brought on mark block. the wisconsin table. mark became the fourth state chapter. we started growing and taking this across the country. before long we had nine states and 16 states and 21 states and this year, two of our newest states have laws. nebraska and arkansas. their steed directors are here tonight. we have chapters in half the states of this great country. 25 of the states with an organization devoted at the grassroots to defending economic freedom. we are starting to win and we're starting to see the results of that. [applause]
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you are a part of it. i wanted to give one admonition to night before we move on with >> i am excited to hear from pat toomey as well. i am an old guy. i have been on and off with politics for several years now. in my experience, there are moments in time that come along about once a generation, if even then, and i am telling you as fellow freedom fighters, we are in one of those moments right now. a great deal is at stake. you know what is at stake with health care you know what is at stake with cap and trade. at stake with
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card check and with stimulus 2.0 and you know what is at stake. we all do. i am telling you, beyond the immediate threats that we face, which i believe we are going to win on, we will be them on. america has woken up and we will win but beyond those threats that we face in the short term, i am telling you as fellow activists in the free market movement, we have a moment in time where we can literally turn this country around for the long haul. i hope we seize it and i urge all of you to seize this moment. we have three more weeks left before congress goes in on september 8. when they go back in, it will be the speed race. it will be a drag race to the finish line on these issues. we need to fight as hard as we can. learn all you can this weekend. i am glad you have come. i was talking to someone from west texas earlier this afternoon. thank you for coming.
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now this, we have an opportunity that may not come along again in our lifetime. think about that. in the next three weeks, before the go back in from some timber eight to congress and the session, we have a chance we may never have again to influence americans for cause. americans are listening. have you noticed that? have you noticed that when you go around, people normally do not talk politics, they are interested in talking politics right now. a lot of americans are concerned who normally are not the least bit concerned about what is happening in a public policy world. you have an opportunity, we have an opportunity right now to win this and not just when the short-term battles. as a movement, a lot of times, we look at the immediate threat. we hopefully win but we either win or lose and what do we do? we retreat, right? we go back to our lives and say that threat is over.
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that is our desire, i know. i am telling you right now, we have a chance to not just when the short-term victories on health care, cap and trade, and card check but we have an opportunity to change the attitudes and the very political fabric of this country. i know you care because you are here. there are a lot of things you could be doing tonight. i was telling someone once, we are not normal, right? you're not normal. i am just being candid. you are here on a friday night. it is beautiful outside. you could be doing a lot of great things but you chose to be here defending your freedoms under country. i appreciate that. it is not enough. it is not enough. in the next three weeks of this recess before congress goes in but especially when congress goes back in, we have a chance to literally turn this country to our side for the long haul. and to make a difference. that is my admonition to you is to go out and to make that
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happen. moveon.org, i signed for their e-mail list a year ago. i was immediately stunned at what opportunities i was given to get involved by being a part of that. i was being invited to meet ups within a mile or two of my house. i was invited to have coffee with folks. around election time, amazingly, i had two neighbors through this list offer to take me to the polls if i wanted to vote and they would drive me. two of my neighbors. that is the challenge we face. we're catching up. our movement is moving at lightening speed and we're catching up but we have a long way to go. i am excited tomorrow, what eric tellford and his team have in store for you. i mentioned a moment ago before
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dinner that talk radio is an amazing ally in this battle. whenever we do rallies or events around the country, the first thing we do after a mailing our list and saying, come out and we are coming to your town and so on, the first thing we do after the mail? we go on and advertise on what ever talk radio that is conservative. we know where the passion and energy is and we know where people are going to for information. they call it destination programming and these guys on radio have destination folks to come because they want to learn and be inspired. we have one of those guys here tonight. when we came into pennsylvania earlier, our first tour was on a card and check tour. we went to pittsburgh and had a rally. we had some good union friends with us. it was a raucous time. we went to harrisburg and it was a generally raucous time and we had a friend through these battles on card check. he stayed with us during the cap
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and trade effort and during the health-care effort. we have a bus. have any of you seen the hands of my health care bus? we did 28 or 29 stops across pennsylvania. we got to go to a lot of great communities. the speaker has been with us promoting it and talking about it and giving a forum and i am glad to have him with us. he is r.j. harris. please welcome him. [applause] >> good evening. how're you tonight? hello from whb 580. one of the highest-rated
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stations in the country. [applause] i am r.j. harris and i am running for office of president of the united states of america. that is what i get. i heard some laughing there. i get that because my job as the morning host is to make people happy in the morning so usually, i am talking about hillary's with this new blue pants suit, larger than they had been or bill clinton gallivanting off to las vegas without hillary to celebrate his birthday. or even perhaps, the fact that we hear that president bush went soft on dick cheney which brought to mind that instead of waterboarding, the president wanted to give the people at guantanamo sponge baths. i get laughter when talking about running for the presidency because people are used to meet
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being a goofball. in 2007 i listed the five points i felt were the most important to straighten out the u.s. of -- united states of america. i started doing campaign speeches in january of 2009 this year. not only out of frustration over the election results but the fact that neither candidate paid attention to the five points the way they should have going on. i only have 12 minutes to do what it should take me a half an hour to do with you. there are a couple of them, i will not spend a lot of time with. the first is, win the war deon terror at all costs. -- win t dhe wahe war on terrort all costs. we have the global contingency operation and all this other politically correct the job that
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needs to be stowed. number two, pass and energy policy based on reality now. drill for domestic oil immediately. onshore and offshore. build refineries immediately. drill for natural gas immediately. build new nuclear power plants now. also push full speed ahead to develop new energy technologies for industry vehicles and homes. we need to do some of the simple things as well. every year, we interrupt the gasoline supply in the united states of america to go to blended gasoline for illinois and california. why can we come up with one blend of gasoline networks nationwide and stop this nonsense? that is something simple. . .
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then we get to the environmentalists who are upset over wind farms which will not contribute a great deal anyway. we have all heard the. there we get to solar panels. i think that will bring their times, too. i am an environmentalist. i recycled before it was required. we do things to take care of the environment. i learned it as a boy scout.
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none of us get any credit because the extremists have access that title. it is about time we take it back. we have made progress in the united states of america. we get no credit for it. that has to end. optimists in the energy field say that if we meet every goal set we can achieve 15% of our energy from wind. 15%. that is it. if we meet every goal we can achieve 5% of our energy from solar, 5%. here is what i asked the extremists and liberals, where is the other 80% coming from? they never want to answer that. they do their wishing and hoping and dreaming. that is what did this, and
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motions. real numbers seek the truth. we are a petroleum based society. we are never more than inches from plastic. all you have to look at is how much petroleum we have. this is not about gasoline only. our nuclear navy aboard america the most resources that anybody has. we need to push forward immediately. this is the best thing that we can do. do nor the parts are coming from? france. 80% of their energy comes from nuclear power, to the point germinated against the law -- german-made it against the law. liberals would rather have us shy from chavez in cuba who want
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to drill offshore week of the drilling for oil. what is wrong with this picture? how many americans are going to buy a $40,000 electric car? where is the power coming from? they block everything that generate power. are putting little into the infrastructure of electricity of the united states. we are going to have elector cars at $40,000? numbers do not lie. electricity rates in the devaney are going of 40% -- in pennsylvania are going up to 40%. barack obama has admitted to cap and trade that electricity rates will skyrocket. they are going of 40% year as it
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is. how much more can we bear after that? global warming is suspect. i am a cellist. -- geologist for t. we know that the earth changes continually. we know that the solar cycle has been messed up for some time. what is interesting that obama's chief was speaking on behalf of a budget to nasa pointed out that he first learned that we learned of global warming on mars and center. -- stature. saturn has all the saturn vehicles. the suvs. we are not sure about the march. if the sun is affecting global warming, how did we write it off here? the legists know much better
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than anybody else. follow the money, people. this policy we have will bring america to its knees without question secure the borders north and south immediately. [applause] you do not get in to visit or become a citizen unless you are here legitimately. i do believe we need a guest worker program. balance the budget before it is too late. implement zero based budgeting at the federal level. scrutinizing every penny spent and every program in a seven- year rotation.
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reduce the tax burden accordingly. i have had elected officials tell me this will not work. what they are telling me is that you cannot run the government based on practical business strategies and you are born to a great job with health care? -- going to do a great job with health care? i think not. part of it is us. we are a greedy society. even our for our indian and when they do not have televisions and things they think -- our poor are indignant when did not have televisions and things like blu- ray players. which came first, the chicken or the egg? i know we used to many credit cards. we have too many cars.
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we have gone overboard. we have to take personal responsibility. it is time that we insist that our government do the same. fix healthcare and keep the government out of running it. [applause] torot free -- tort reform is at the top of the list. you notice that the barack obama is doing nothing but nothing about tort reform. we know why that is, barack obama. allow plants to compete in 50 states. there is no reason that we should be able to buy a health care plan -- one not sure what calif. -- from another state if it works. pharmaceuticals have to be
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competitive as well. there is no reason that we should not be able to buy pharmaceuticals from other countries like canada. if it will drive the prices down for people in the united states of america. the pharmaceuticals the company is now on board with obama because there is something in the health care bill that says the government will not be allowed to negotiate prices. follow the money. consumers also have to be more responsible about our health care costs. we expect everything to be paid for in this day and age. when anything goes up out of our pocket we know. the moment healthcare costs go up, we moan again. we used to pay the doctor went to see the doctor. now a junior $50 if i go to the emergency. -- now i paid $250 if i go to the emergency room. do you want to use the emergency
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rooms for colds? do it. it will cost $250. better yet, where 20 cents a packet -- we are going to send you a package. we are going to send you home and give you nothing. i do want to commend all of you in a big way because the rallies that we have been doing and the things if you have been doing on the internet are very important. when i gave my speech in harrisburg, here is what i did. i took the will to call robert gleason, the head of the republican party and tell him that the candidates for president for the republican party is right here in harrisburg, pa.. he is going to laugh at you. he is going to dismiss you.
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this is not about rj harris. it is about the fact that the republican party has been ignoring grass-roots republican for many years. there for speeding as candidates after candidates that we do not want. -- they are forced feeding us candidates after candidates that we do not want. they tried to do it again not too long ago when the state party tried to put everything they could think of because they said a conservative could not win the seat that we are going to win with pat tieooney. they finally listened. -- pat toomey.
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they find a listen. god bless the united states of america. thank you. >> i am michelle bachman. i have seen firsthand how important it is for conservatives to be engaged on- line activists bit of they have done a tremendous job. their mastery of online activism helped prepare president obama for the white house. well they are making great strides online, it is vital that we pick up our case. on august 14 and 15 in pittsburgh, pa. americans for prosperity will be hosting their second annual write on-line conference to counter the actions of the left. the conference will bring together new media activists
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representatives of hundreds of citizen activists to provide important leadership and grassroots training. this will offer the tools and inspiration necessary for us to more effectively impact public policy in favor of what we believe beta limited government. free enterprise. there'll be a slaughter program -- a solid program of workshops that can be used to mobilize free market policies but i only wish i was going to be able to be there with you to silken of the great ideas my schedule prohibits me -- be there with you to soak in all the great ideas. unfortunately, my schedule prohibits me. with the 200010 elections
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approaching, it is time we prepare ourselves to take our fight to the locals. computer to computer. house to house. neighbor to neighbor. it is time we returned to the tried and true part of grass- roots campaigning. thakns so much for listening -- thanks so much for listening circle august 14 and 15. make sure you get yourself to pittsburgh. [applause] >> our next speaker is the founder of keystone conconservative.com please welcome him.
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>> i have been looking for this evening with great anticipation. like many of my double -- fellow citizens, i recognize the rare opportunity we have tonight to hear from a statement. he is knowledgeable, honest, and eloquent about the issues facing our country. he comes from a blue-collar working class family. he worked his way through harvard. he worked here in pennsylvania as a small-business owner at the rookies restaurant. he served in congress as the leading advocate for limited government and for american values. recently, he worked to fight for free enterprise, lower taxes, and less wasteful government spending. he is a pilot and an author of
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the recent big "the road to prosperity" and continues to cast a vision for how to revise the american dream. please give a hearty welcome to have to me -- pat toomey. >> thank you for that very warm response. and it to tim phillips and his staff cannot let me say congratulations on the great work that you do.
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-- and his staff, let me say congratulations on the great work that you do. we share a common mission, two organizations that use different tactics to advance that mission. both organizations understand that prosperity comes from freedom. i salute americans for prosperity foundation for all that you do, for the presence that you have an all 50 states, for the strength in the growth, and i am convinced he will be a very important voice in american debate's going forward. folks who are here from the new media, the folks who of done a tremendous job in the blogging community in getting a message across. as some of you may have noticed, full media is not always on our side. you are doing an amazing job of
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leveling the playing build and helping us get a message out. i am very optimistic about their future. i have a few thoughts i want to share with you tonight. before i do, i want to give you fair warning about the challenges i contend with when it comes to public speaking. i have a little story that will illustrate that very well. i am the father of two small children. the school they attend has a program would invite parents to come in and speak to the class about what they do for a living. being the dutiful father i am, i went to my second grade classroom and stood in front of 25 7 year olds and explained what i did --on my way to
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freedom. i thought i had done a pretty good job. a little girl looked up at me and said "i just want to tina that is the worst speech i ever heard -- i want you to know that is the were speech i ever heard of my entire life." [laughter] my daughter heard her say this. my daughter said not to listen to a worrd she says, she just as with other children say. it was a humbling experience i still want to share with you in little bit of political context. i thought i was running against arlen specter. you guys pay attention. you probably thought of
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returning against arlen specter. arlen specter decided he was not running against me once he saw the poll. [applause] i had every intention of the game in the republican primary. i did not know i would drive him clear out of the party. it is worth reflecting on how extraordinary it is for a long- term incumbent member of the united states senate to switch parties. it is a rare occasion. it is for dearly rare -- it might be unprecedented -- to have been 13 months before a primary when the company has a 7 million head start. -- incumbent might have a 7 million head start. why did he abandon the battlefield without a fight? there is a good reason. it is because pennsylvania citizens are coming to a
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conclusion. anybody who is a part of the problem has a serious political problem. i would argue -- i think it is almost indisputable -- the we have the most liberal elected government in the history of republicans. there is no balance in washington. there is a single party that is in complete control. the republican party is a bystander. @@@@@@@@@ @ they are attempting to take america down a road we have never seen before. actually, i think they are trying to change the fundamental nature of american society and how the american people relate to each other and their government.
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they are trying to change the nature of american politics, manifested in several ways. the obvious ones include the serial bell labs and the full nationalization of two-thirds of the domestic car industry, the nationalization of much of the banking industry, absolutely staggering spending. the banking industry. huge tax increases that are not guaranteed. huge new taxes and restrictions on energy use, expanding the power of organized labor and the dramatic expansion of government role in health care. these guys are just warming up. the punitive of that of all these proposals would profoundly change the nature of our society. a lot of people voted for a change fuzzball. this is not the change they had in mind -- last fall.
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this is not the change they had in mind. i think what is driving with this are folks who are not fond of the american experiment and tradition of limited government personal responsibility, democratic capitalism. instead, there are some folks in washington who are a bit more bond of the european welfare state model. that is what they are trying to impose on us. i will acknowledge that i think france is probably a very lovely place to visit. i do not want to be french. [applause] increasingly across the country, i think candidates for public office who are associated with
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in contributing to advancing this swayed to the left will find themselves and political problems. this is appropriate. this is a healthy back lash that is developing. i think the 2010 cycle will be a major push back on this out of control agenda. it is a very healthy thing that the american people are doing, pushing back on this. these policy initiatives have been tried before in other parts to the world. they have been tried in america in many cases and have failed. they will fail again in the are about to be implemented. let me suggest a very world the year low. -- worldly parallel.
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there is a great book called " the forgotten man." it came out in 2007. she talks about the flawed policies of the great depression. even in my book, i talk about this parallel between the failed policies of the 1930's that took what might have been an ordinary recession and turned it into the greatest economic debacle of the 20th century. those same flawed policies are being threatened upon us again. i advocate the five areas that i think are the most egregious. the first when it comes to mind is protectionism. the restriction of freedom, a tree, and other countries. in 1929, over 1000 very well qualified people signed a petition urging congress not to
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pass the terrace. congress paid no attention. they passed in with. the result of putting these new taxes on products americans were buying was very predictable. it was massive retaliation. when he retaliated against americans, american experts collapse. -- exports collapsed. virtually all economic historians agree that the trade war that was put in motion by the smoot-holley terrace increase the severity of the great depression. what did these guys in washington want to do now? they want to go back to protectionism. we have to trade agreements that have been negotiated, with south korea and with columbia. they are more beneficial to
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american exporters and to exporters from those countries. organized labor doesn't want to battle. nancy pelosi and harry reid will do the bidding of organized labor. there is no advancement of those agreements. even worse, and the cap and trade legislation there is an admission that if we pass that and sign it into law it will put americans, businesses, and workers at such a huge disadvantage that our own domestic production will drop off enormously. the only way to offset that is to impose a huge tax on american to try to buy imported stuff. embedded in that legislation could be the beginning of a serious movement of protectionism that could lead to a trade war. it is about the last thing we ought to be doing in this economic environment. the second thing that they got wrong during the 1930's was the sheer magnitude of spending.
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fdr launch all kinds of spending programs, public works. some were justifiable and productive. they went way too far. you do not have to take my word for it. at the are's owned treasury secretary -- at the our's on treasury secretary -- fdr's own treasury secretary said "we are spending more money and we have ever spent before and it does not work. we have just as much unemployment as when we started and enormous debt to boot." sound familiar? let's think about the spending they are doing now. the stimulus is one and one massive spending measures that have passed already this year. it is hard to wrap your brain around and $800 billion bill because the numbers are of such
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magnitude. imagine you went out and spend $1 million. most of us never spend a million dollars in a single day. imagine you did. imagine anyone spent out and spend $1 million tomorrow. and that he started to spend $1 million a day on the david jesus christ was born and spent $1 million a day every day of every year since then until today. if he did that, we still love has spent as much as they spent in a single bill without bothering to read it first. the day after the president signed that bill, he hosted a fiscal responsibility summit at the white house. you cannot make this up. [laughter] how about taxes? during the 1930's, we had a series of tax increases that were staggering come increases on wages, income, capital.
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taxes went through the roof. investment was discouraged. work was discouraged. the depression just lingered on and on. what are we being promised now? tax increases on income, capital, businesses. it makes no sense to impose huge new taxes especially when an economy is struggling. the fourth item, labor laws. in the 1930's there was the wagner act. as a result, it reduce the flexibility of business in the workplace. it was a time when businesses needed to innovate and find ways to struggle and to work their way through a very difficult economic environment. at that time, flexibility was lost. the power was expanded. what do we have now? a card tech.
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legislation that will allow unionization by intimidation. it makes no sense. then there is the fifth category and it is the excessive regulation. fdr, you have to give him credit for creativity. the way in which the creatively decided to impose new restrictions and regulations on the way people did business was absolutely unprecedented. it was breathtaking. it was devastating. some of those regulations lasted for 50 years. at do we have? where proposals for whole new regulations on energy, financial services, the automobile industry. i would argue that the parallel between the failed policies that turned what might have been an ordinary recession into the great depression are being threatened upon us again.
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the good news is that the battle is not over yet. we have not lost it yet. most of what they are proposing is still in the proposal stage. most of it has not been enacted. the bill has been passed but of the money has not been sent yet. i think this is where we come into the picture. this is where we have an incredibly important opportunity, and the obligation, to step up and make our voices heard and to use every legitimate means available to us to remind policymakers of the flaws in this approach. the blogger share play an important role. -- b. blockers -- the bloggers here play an important role. you have the ability to play public opinion. that can change the outcome of
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legislation. consider the health-care debate. it is very illustrative. in 1993, when the clintons tried to have the government take over healthcare in a variant of the current efforts, it was the organize health care providers that fought back. insurance, pharmaceuticals, ama. there were various groups of health care providers in the industry that pushed back institutionally and able to defeat the legislation. the obama administration learned that lesson. what they did was they went and coopted those groups and got them on board. it'll be interesting to learn the history of exactly how. they pretty much peeled off those various groups and got them on board. they have the institutional support for their bill. they got a huge majority in congress but if they have not been able to pass the bill.
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why? ordinary americans like us have risen up and voice our opposition forcefully, vigorously come intelligently, and are to accurately predict the politicians are getting scared. -- articulately and the politicians are getting scared. i think we are going to win that battle. mr. vayet today president clints speaking at the netroots gathering here in town. i am told that they have a somewhat larger numbers than we had. i would suggest they give their ideas compared to ours, it gets in times as many people as we have come is still not even close. -- is still not an even fight. former president clinton said something to the effect that
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regardless of how far down they deride the popularity of this health-care takeover, he did not call it a takeover, regardless of how unpopular it has become, we have to do it. such is their content for the views of the american people. legitimate use by people who are voicing illegitimate concern. my prediction is that and they will not be able to get it done because the voice of the american people is rising and it is too loud and clear. i think we should look for alternate is. i think we all know there are things we can do to make healthcare better and more affordable. i think rj touch on some of these things. we need to fix a broken legal system. we tolerate abuse of legal
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system that tries of the cost of health care not just directly in the form of health insurance@@@ but also forcing doctors and health-care providers defensive medicine, but they have to do it to diminish the risk of being sued. that is an opportunity to drive down the cost. we ought to support the legislation that my friend from arizona has championed for years which would allow people to buy health insurance regulated by another state. one that forced them to compete for our business? why shouldn't pennsylvania families be able to decide to buy and that is regulated by another state if that suits their family better? . . cost without curbing quality at all,
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lower-cost means health care is more visible to everyone. this is the kind of reform that makes sense. making common-sense reforms rather than turning the whole system turned upside down it does not need to be turned upside down. upside down. that logic is going to prevent them from getting this through. that'll be very much to the advantage of our society, health, and the economy. i want to close on this thought. i hope that everybody understands how important our own personal individual role is in the national debate. it really matters. i hope no one will tell you that economic difference. i saw how one man walking down
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to the house floor on principle, taking a politically courageous stand, could change the entire debate and outcome of legislation. interjection said one man with courage is a majority. -- andrew jackson said one man with courage is a majority. i think we need someone to stand up for the people who pay all the bills in this country. i have a feeling sometimes in washington they forget that someone has to pay all these bills. i would like to tell you that if i'm fortunate enough to be elected to the senate, there several aspects of the world that i would like to pay. there are two that i want to be candid about. one is a taxable role. it is important republicans have
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a seat at the table and have a functioning two-party system. that means the ability to have a filibuster and put the brakes on an out of control freight train and to be able to force a second party had a seat at the table. i believe that is a role a complaint. there is a broader role that i have. if i'm fortunate enough to be elected to the senate, i hope and intend to be the voice that walk down the senate floor and remind my fellow senators and american people watching what the real source of prosperity is in america. governments do not great wealth. governments can destroy wealth. wealth and prosperity and opportunity have always come from ordinary men and women who get of ago to work and make things that we volume -- get up and go to work and make things that we value.
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it is not that complicated. people make things that we value. they provide services we need. it is that exchange that is the source of all prosperity, all opportunity and well. if government honors the fundamental principles i talk about an hour but -- in my book, keeping taxes and spending low, keeping regulation a light, prosperity is unavoidable. people voluntarily cooperate and innovate. on the brewers take risks. workers find new ways to be productive. it happened spontaneously. sony's remind those guys in washington. we went from being a third world colonial backward to the most benevolent and richest country in the world.
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we did not do that by expecting the government to provide for all our needs. we did that by believing in limited government and personal freedom and personal responsibility, respect for traditional western civilization and values. those are the core american ideas. nothing has changed. if we embrace those ideas again, we can get out of this economic slowdown in the 21st century can be the best that we have ever had. i believe with all my heart that it is our birthright as americans to dream great dreams. it is the irresponsibility of elected officials to defend
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>> next, president obama and a health care town hall meeting in montana. after that, howard dean on health care. then, pennsylvania democratic senate candidates are expected and joe sestak speak at the net return convention -- netroots nation convention. >> tomorrow and "washington journal," the founder of the blog suburban guerrilla talks about blogging and the news of the day. author john jeter discusses his book.
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"washington journal," live at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> sunday, ellis cose of his public radio series that profiles people who have overcome significant obstacles and lie. sunday night at 8:00 on c-span. >> british voters are expected to go the polls in national elections next spring. this weekend, david cameron of how a a tory government would change current domestic policies. british politics, sunday night on c-span. >> now, president obama at a town hall meeting on proposed health care legislation. this is an airport hangar in belgrade, montana. it is just over an hour.
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[applause] >> hello, montana. thank you. thank you. it is great to be here. please, everybody have a seat. i am excited to be back in montana. where is michelle? michelle and the girls were supposed to go whitewater rafting.
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i just heard some rain to wonder not know what is going on out there. they are on their way. i want to acknowledge some outstanding public officials and friends. first of all, the man who is working tirelessly to make sure that the american people get a fair deal when it comes to health care in america. please give max baucus a big round of applause. one of my favorite people in washington. [applause]
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your own star here in montana, the great governor of this state. please give him and his lovely wife are round of applause. [applause] the lieutenant governor is here. give him a big round of applause. [applause] the mayor of belgrade, russ nelson, is here. [applause] the mayor of bozeman is here. [applause] somebody i believe is destined to be one of the greatest secretaries of the interior inner history, the former senator from colorado, ken salazar is here. please give him a round of applause. [applause]
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it is nice to be back, nice to take a break from the goings on in washington. i am thrilled to have a chance to spend some time with the folks in this beautiful state. here in montana you have bears, moose, and elk. in washington, you just have mostly bull. [laughter] so, this is-- that is a nice change of pace. [applause] [laughter] i especially want to thank katie for her introduction. [applause] where did katie go? there she is right there. katie's willingness to talk about such a painful experience
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is important, because we have to understand what is at stake in this health care debate. katie's story is the kind of story that i have read in letters all throughout the campaign and every day when i'm president. i hear about them in town halls all across america. the stories of hard-working people who are doing the right thing. they are acting responsibly, only to find out they are penalized because others are doing the right thing, because the others aren't acting responsibly. on tuesday i was in new hampshire, talking about people denied insurance coverage because of preexisting conditions. today we are talking about folks like katie who had their insurance policies suddenly break up, even though they were paying premiums, because of a medical condition. they got sick and so they that is when they get dropped. tomorrow and colorado we will be
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talking about the people who have insurance but are still stuck with huge bills because they have a cap on their benefits or they are charged exorbitant out-of-pocket fees. when you hear about these experiences, when you think of the millions of people denied coverage because of preexisting conditions, when you think about the thousands who have their policies canceled each year, like katie, i want you to remember one thing. there but for the grace of god go i.. [applause] most of us have insurance. most of us think, knock on wood, that we are going to stay healthy but we are no different than katie and other ordinary americans. no different than anybody else. we are held hostage at any given moment by insurance companies to deny coverage or drop coverage or charge fees that people can
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afford at a time when they desperately need care. it is wrong. it is bankrupting families, it is bankrupting businesses and we are going to fix it when we pass health insurance reform this year. [cheers and applause] we are going to fix it. again, i want to especially thank max for his hard work'֖ a bill as chair of the finance committee. he has been committed to getting this done. this is obviously a tough time in america, a tough time here in montana. just six months ago we were in the middle of the worst recession in our lifetimes. we were losing about 700 jobs each month. economists of all stripes feared a second coming of the great depression. that is why we acted as best as we could to pass a recovery plan to stop the freefall.
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i want to just i want to just speak briefly about the recovery plan. the recovery plan was divided into three parts. one-third of the money in your car react went to tax cuts that have already started showing up in the paychecks of about 400,000 working families in montana. 400,000 working families have seen their taxes reduced because of the recovery act. we also cut taxes for small businesses on the investments that they make, and more than 200 my -- montana small-business is have qualified for new loans backed by the recovery act, including 10 businesses right in the bozeman area. [applause] another third of the money and recovery act is for emergency relief for folks who have borne the brunt of this recession.
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we have extended benefits for 40,000 montana residents. we have made health insurance 65% cheaper for families who rely on kober when they lose their job and they are out there looking for work. [applause] i think as your governor will testify for states facing historic budget shortfalls we provide assistance that is save the jobs of tens of thousands of workers who provide essential services like teachers and police officers. we have prevented painful job cuts but we have also prevented a lot of painful state and local tax increases. so, that is two-thirds of the recovery act. the last third of the recovery act is for investments that are already putting people back to work, rebuilding infrastructure. their nearly 70 transportation projects already improved here in montana. these are just fixing up the roads that run to the national forests. could just doing the work that
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america needs done and most of the work is being done by local businesses because that is how we are going to get this economy growing again. so there is no doubt that the recovery plan is doing what we said it would, putting us on the road to recovery. we saw last friday the jobs picture is beginning to turn. we are starting to see signs that business investment is coming back, so people i think sometimes when i listen to them on tv or these cable shows, they seem to have a selective memory. we started with this mess. we are now pulling out of it but that doesn't mean we are out of the woods. [applause] that does a mean we are out of the woods. you know that. and boseman for example the local judge center reported seeing more than 8,000 job-seekers for 160 jobs so we can't sit back and do nothing while families are struggling.
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because even before this recession hit, we had an economy that was working pretty well for the wealthiest of americans, working well for wall street bankers and big corporations but it wasn't working so well for everybody else. it was then economy of bubbles and buzz, an economy in which recklessness and not responsibility was reported. we can go back to that kind of economy. if we want a country that succeeds in the 21st century, then we have to lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity. and health insurance reform is one of the key pillars of this new foundation. [applause] this economy won't work for everyone intel folks like katie and her husband can start that small business without the fear of losing their health coverage, and the companies are slashing payroll and losing profits to pay for health insurance. until every single american has
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the security and peace of mind of knowing they have got quality, affordable care. and the fact is health care touches all of our lives in a profound way. now, that also makes this debate an emotional one. i know there has been a lot of attention paid to some of the town hall meetings that are going on a run the country, especially when tempers flare. tv lows a ruckus. what you haven't seen on tv, and what makes me proud are the many constructive meetings going on all over the country, everywhere across the country. you are seeing people who are coming together and having a cybil, honest, often difficult conversation about how we can improve this system. that is out democracy is supposed to work. earlier this week held a town hall in new hampshire. a few thousand people showed up.
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some more big supporters of the health insurance reform. some have concerns and questions. summer done right skeptic. i waglad to see that people were there not to shock. they were there to listen and ask questions. that reflects america. a lot more than what we have seen covered on television for the last few days. [applause] i want to thank you for coming here today in that spirit. now, before i take questions i just want to talk briefly about what health insurance reform will mean for you. we still have work to do in congress. bills are not finalized, but i just want you to understand about 80% of this has already been agreed to. here are the basic principles that folks are talking about. first, health insurance reform will mean a set of common sense,
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the consumer protections for folks with health insurance. said those of you who have health insurance, this is what it will mean. insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel your coverage because he gets sick. that is what happened to katie. [applause] that can happen anymore. if you do the responsible thing, if you pay your premiums each month so you are covered in case of a crisis, when crisis conseque have a heart attack or your husband finds out he has cancer or your son or daughter is rest to the hospital at the time when you are most vulnerable and most frightened, you can't be getting a phonecall from your insurance company saying your insurance is revoked. it turns out once you got sick they scoured your records looking for reasons to cancel your policy. they find a minor mistake on your insurance form that you submitted years ago. that can be allowed to happen. one reports--
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[applause] one report found that three insurance companies alone had canceled 20,000 policies in this way over the past few years. one man from illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his censure discovered he had not reported gallstones he did not know about. a true story. because his treatment with delayed, he died. a woman from texas was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, was scheduled for a double mastectomy. three days before surgery the insurance company canceled the policy in part because she forgot to declare a case of acne. a true story. by the time she had her insurance reinstated the cancer had more than doubled in size. this is personal for me. i will never forget my own mother as she fought cancer in her final months, having to worry about whether the insurance company would refuse to pay for her treatment.
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the insurance company was arguing that she should have known that she had cancer when she took her new job, even though it hadn't been diagnosed yet. if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone of us. it is wrong and when we pass health insurance reform we are going to put a stop to it, once and for all. that is what max baucus is working on. [applause] number two, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage because of your medical history. a recent report found in the past three years me than 12 million americans were discriminated against by insurance companies because of a preexisting condition. no one holds these companies accountable for these practices, but we will. insurance companies will no longer be able to place an arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive any given year for a lifetime, and
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that will help-- [applause] that will help, that will help 3700 households in montana. we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses as well because no one in america should be broke when they get sick. [applause] and finally, finally we will require insurance companies to cover routine check-ups and preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies because that saves money and that saves lives. [applause] so, that is what health care reform is all about. right now we have to get a health care system that all too often works better for the insurance companies than it does for the american people. we want to change that. now, if you are one of nearly 46 million people who don't have health insurance, he will finally have quality, affordable
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options. and if you do have health insurance, we will help make sure that your insurance is more affordable and more secure. if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. this is not some government take over. if you like your doctor, you can keep seeing a doctor. this is important, i don't want government bureaucrats meddling in your health care but i also don't want insurance company beaurocrats meddling in your health care either. [applause] that is what reform is about. [applause] [cheers and applause] let me say this. under the proposal that max is
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working on, more than 100,000 medal platts montanans will get a health care tax credit. more than 200,000 montanans will have access to a new marketplace where you can easily compare health insurance options. nearly 30,000 small businesses in montana will be helped by new tax benefits as well. and we will do all of this, we will do all of this without adding to our deficit over the next decade, largely by cutting waste and ending sweetheart deals for insurance companies that don't make anybody any healthier. [applause] so, the fact is, we are closer to achieving health insurance reform then we have ever been in history. we have the american nurses association and the american medical association on board because america's doctors and nurses know how badly we need reform. we have broad agreement in congress on about 80% of what we are trying to achieve and we continue to work on the other
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20%. we have an agreement from the drug companies, who violently oppose reform in the past to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. aarp supports this policy and agrees with us that reform must happen this year. but, because we are getting close, the fight is getting fierce. the history is clear, every time we are inside of health insurance reform, the special-interest like that with everything they have got. they use their influence, they run their ads in their political allies try to scare the heck out of everybody. it happened in '93, it is happening now. it happened by the way when lyndon johnson tried to propose medicare. it happened when john f. kennedy tried to propose medicare. we can't let them do it again. not this time. because for all the scare tactics out there-- [applause]
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for all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary, what is truly risky is if we do nothing. if we keep the system the way it is right now, we will continue to see 14,000 americans lose their health insurance every day, and that could be you. premiums will continue to skyrocket, rising three times faster than wages. that will be you. the deficit will continue to grow medicare will go into the red and less than a decade, so for all the seniors out there who are understandably worried about medicare, understand if we don't reform the system, in about eight years medicare goes in the red and given the deficits that we have right now, we have got to start thinking how are we going to pay for that? insurance companies will continue to profit by discriminating against people for being sick. so if you want a different future, a brighter future, i need your help.
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the change is never easy and by the way it never starts in washington. it starts with you, so i need you to keep knocking on doors, talking to your neighbors, spread the facts. [applause] fight against the fear. this is not about politics. this is about helping the american people and if we can get it done this year, the american people are going to be better off. thank you, montana. [applause] thank you. [applause] alright, everybody have a seat. so, we are going to try to take its many questions as we can in the time that we have got, and
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we have not preselected anybody or prescreen the questions. all we want to do is just ask you to raise your hand if you have got a question and i'm going to go girl, boy,@@@@@@@@ir there are people in the audience with microphones, as you can see. once i call on you, if you can just wait until they bring the microphone, stand up so we can all see you, and introduce yourself. then i will answer the question, and if you could keep your questions relatively brief, i will try to keep my answers relatively brief. this young lady right here. >> thank you so much for coming to southwest montana. we really appreciate you being here. [applause]
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i was laid off in january and currently uninsured. my two children have medicaid right now. >> let me tell you what happens in other industrialized countries. it is important for everyone to understand that americans spent $5,000 to six dozen dollars per person more than any other advanced nation on earth. five or $6,000 more than any other country on earth. if you think how can that be,
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you probably did not notice it because what is happening is, if you have health insurance through your job, more and more of what would be your salary and wages is going to health insurance. but you do not notice it. you just noticed that you are not getting a raise. compensation is going to health care here in the united states. now that is point number one. clearly we have a situation that isn't as efficient as it should be because we are not healthier than these people in these other countries. having said that, most of the countries have some form of single-payer system. there are differences, canada, and england have more of what's called -- what people i guess would call a socialized system in the sense that government owns the hospitals, directly hires doctors. but there are a whole bunch of countries like the netherlands where what they do is it's a single-payer system only in the sense that government pays the bills but it's all private folks
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out there. private doctors, private facilities. so there are a bunch of different ways of doing it. now, what we need to do is come up with a uniquely american way of providing care. so i'm not in favor of the canadian system. i'm not in favor of a british system. i am not in favor of a french system. that's not what max is working on. everyone of us, what we have said is let's find a uniquely american solution because historically, here in the united states, the majority of people get their health insurance on the job. so let's build on that system that already exist because for us to completely change that it would be too disruptive. that's where suddenly people would lose what they had and they would have to adjust to an entirely new system. and maximize green that's not the right way to go. so all we have said is in building a better system, what are the elements.
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well, number one, for people like you, you should be able to get some help going into the private insurance marketplace and buying health insurance. so we would give you a tax credit, a subsidy of some sort, to help you obtain insurance. now the problem is if you are going out there on your own, then it is much more expensive than if you go with a big group. so we would allow you to buy into a health care exchange that would give you some power to negotiate for a better rate because you are now part of a big pool. we would also make sure that if you do have health insurance, that you are protected from some of the policies that we've already talked about that have not been very good for consumers. so you wouldn't be able to be banned for preexisting conditions. there would be caps on the amount of out of pocket expenses you would have to spend. so we would reform the insurance market for people who already have health insurance. and if we do those things,
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making it better for folks who already have insurance, making it easier for you to buy insurance, and helping small businesses who want to do the right thing by their employees but just can't afford it because they are charged very high rates, they can't get a good deal from the insurance companies. if we do those things, then we can preserve the best of what our system offers, the innovation, the dynamism, but also make sure that people aren't as vulnerable. that is essentially what we are talking about with health care reform. and so when you start hearing people saying, you know, we're trying to get socialized medicine and we're trying to have government bureaucrats, and metal in your decision between you and your doctor, that is just not true. okay. >> it's a guys turned. the german right there in the back.
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>> i think most of us know that medicare is one of the best social programs of this nation has ever put together. [applause] >> it works extremely well and helps the people who need it the most. that money doesn't grow on trees. how can we be assured that increasing coverage to others is not going to make medicare more expensive or less effective? >> i think this is a a good point and i appreciate that question because a lot of seniors are concerned about this at first of all, it is important to know that medicare is a government program. so when you hear people saying i hate government programs, but keep your hands off my medicare, then there is a little bit of contradiction there. and i have been hearing that quite a bit. so i just want to -- i want to
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be clear about that. [applause] >> medicare is a terrific program, and it gives our senior security and i want medicare to be there for the next generation, not just for this generation. but if we don't make changes in how the delivery system works, if we don't eliminate some of the waste and inefficiencies in the system, then seniors are really going to be vulnerable. so what we've proposed is not to reduce benefits, benefit on medicare would stay the same. it's not too ration. but what we are asking is that we eliminate some of the practices that are not making people healthy. example number one. subsidies to insurance companies under medicare amount to about $177 billion over 10 years. that is how much we think we
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could save by eliminating subsidies to insurance companies that are offering was called that your advantage. it doesn't help seniors anymore than regular medicare does. and so if we took that $177 billion, we're not making seniors worse off. we've got that money now, not only to strengthen the health care system overall, but potentially to cover more people. navigations companies don't like it, but it is the right things to do. let me give you another example of changes that we should make. right now when you go into the hospital, you get a procedure under medicare. if you end up having to come back to that hospital a week later because something went wrong, they didn't do it right, the hospital doesn't pay any penalty for that. they just get reimbursed for a
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second time for a third time. same fee, same service. now think about that. if auto repair shops operate the same way. you take your car in and you get it fixed, and a week later the thing is broken again. you go in. the guy says let me charge you all over again and i will do just the same thing. that doesn't make sense. so what we have said is let's give hospitals and incentive. let's say to the hospitals we are going to charge you for overall treatment of whatever the problem is. and if you get it right the first time, you get to keep a little extra money, but if you keep having the person back again and again, then there is a disincentive. those are the examples of the kind of changes that can be made that are not reductions in benefits but they say the system money over all. and by the way, will actually
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increase the life expectancy of the medicare trust fund. which is in deep trouble, if we don't do something. because as you said, money doesn't grow on trees. so we are actually trying to help preserve medicare and make people healthier in the process. all right. [applause] >> the young lady in the back there. right there. well actually, i was pointing out -- i didn't see. the young lady in the blue who stood up there. >> good afternoon, mr. president. my name is sarah landry and i am a bozeman resident. sorry, i'm a little verse. >> you're doing great. >> thank. i am a single mother of two children. i am an msu student. i have a son that suffers from many disabilities. he is disabled for the rest of his life. he is 11 years old.
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he suffers from autism, he is nonverbal. he suffers from extremely hard to control epilepsy, and he is type one diabetic. he has been sick with these albums ever since he was nine months old. my question to you is, i real i heavily on his medicaid to support good health and care for him. what with this reform would happen with his medicare coverage? or medicaid coverage, sorry. >> first of all, thank you for sharing your story. you are a heroic mom. [applause] >> so we are grateful for you. your son is lucky. if you currently qualify for medicaid, your son currently qualify for medicaid he would continue to qualify for
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medicaid. so it would not have an impact on his benefit levels and his ability to get the care that he needs. some of the reforms that we are talking about though, what i just referred to as delivery system reforms, where we help, for example, encourage doctors when they are seeing a patient, instead of having five tests, do one test and then e-mailed all the tests to five specialists. those kind of changes can save money in the medicaid and the medicare system overall, and that will actually help governor schweitzer, who has to come up with half of medicaid in his state budget every year. it will actually help him and be able to pay for. so we are not changing the benefit levels who qualifies for medicaid. we might see some expansion of
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medicaid, in fact, under the reforms that have been proposed in some of the legislation. but we do have to make the whole system overall just a little bit smarter, make sure we're getting aid better bang for the buck so the money is there for the services that your son needs. okay. this also includes by the way preventive care, wellness care. because our system really is not a health care system. it's more like a disease care system. we wait until people get sick, and then we provide them care. now think about it. are we better off waiting until somebody gets diabetes, and then paying a surgeon for a foot amputation, or are we better off having somebody explain to a person who is obese and at risk of diabetes to change their diet, and if they contract diabetes to stay on their medications. obviously, the second is more
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cost-efficient. but right now the health care system is perverse. it does not incentivize the things that keep those people better or it keeps them out of the hospitals in the first place and that is a we have to change overall to make sure the resources are there for your son. okay? [applause] >> it's a gentleman's turn and i'm going to call on that gentleman right there. right there. >> my name is randy. >> hold on a. >> my name is randy and i am from montana. as you can see i'm a proud nra member. [applause] >> i believe in our constitution, and it's a very important thing. i also get my news from the cable networks because i don't like the spin that comes from them other places. >> you've got to be careful
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about those cable networks though. [laughter] >> max baucus, our senator has been locked up in a dark room@@" all we get is bull. you cannot tell us how your going to pay for this. you are saving over here and you are going to take a little money here and there, but you have no money. the only way you are going to get that money is to raise our taxes. you said you would not. max baucus says he does not want to put a bill of that will, but that is the only way you could do that. >> i am happy to answer the question. you are absolutely right that i cannot cover another 46 million people for free. you are right. i cannot do that. so we are born to have to find
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some resources -- we are going to have to find some resources. we will have to find money from somewhere. most of the committees have identified and agreed to, including max boxes committee, is that overall this bill will cost, let's say it costs 800 to $900 billion. that's a lot of money. that's a lot of money. that's over 10 years ago. all right. so that's about 80 to $90 million a year. about two thirds of it, two thirds, can be obtained by doing some of the things i already mentioned like a limiting subsidies to insurance guppies. so you're right, that's real money. i just think i would rather be giving that money to the young lady here who doesn't have health insurance and giving her some help in getting it to insurance covers that are making record profits. now, you may disagree, i think that's a good way to spend our money. [applause]
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>> but your point is well taken because even after we spend, even after we eliminate some of the ways, and we have gotten those savings from within health care system, that's only two thirds. that still means we have to come up with one third. and that is about $30 billion a year that we have to come up with. now keep in mind the numbers change partly because there are five different bills right now. this is all going to get merged in september. but let's assume it costs about $30 billion a year over 10 years that we do have to come up with that money. when i was campaigning, i made a promise that i would not raise your taxes if you make $250,000 a year or less. that's what i said. but i said that for people like myself who make more than that, there's nothing wrong with me paying a little bit more in order to help people who got a little bit less. that was my commitment. [applause]
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>> so what i have said is, so what i have said is let's, for example, this is a solution that i originally proposed. some members in congress disagree but we are still working it through. what i said is we could lower the itemized deductions i can take on my income tax returns every year, so that instead of me getting 36 percent, 35% deductions i would just get 28 percent, like people who make less money than me. i've i am writing a check to my local church, i don't know why ogles them should be getting a bigger tax break than the person who makes less money than me, because that donation means just as much. if we just did that alone, just that change alone for people making more than $250,000, that alone would pay for the health care we are talking about. so my point is, my point is,
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number one, two thirds of the money we can obtain just from eliminating waste and inefficiencies. and the congressional budget office has agreed with that. this is not something i'm just making up. republicans don't dispute it. and then the other third we would have to find additional revenue, but it wouldn't come off the backs of the middle class. let me just make one final point. i know that there are some people who say i don't care how much money somebody makes. they shouldn't have to pay higher taxes. and i respect that opinion. i respect that you. but the truth of the matter is that we've got to get over this notion that somehow we can have something for nothing. because that's part of how we got into the deficits and the debt that we are in in the first place. [applause]
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>> when the previous administration passed a prescription drug bill, that was something that a lot of seniors needed, right, they needed prescription drug help. the price tag on that was hundreds of billions of dollars. you know how we paid for it? we didn't. it just got added onto the deficit deficit and the debt. so it amuses me sometimes when i hear some of the opponents of health care reform on the other side of the aisle, or on these cable shows, yelling about how we can't afford this when max and i are actually proposing to pay for it, and they passed something that they didn't pay for at all and left for future generation to have to pay in terms of debt. [applause] >> that doesn't make sense to me.
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can i say this though? randy, i appreciate your question. the respectful way you asked it, and by the way, i believe in the constitution to. so thank you very much. i appreciate it. [applause] >> all right. right there in the green in the back. >> thanks. so when funding dried up last fall due to the economic downturn, i lost my job at a nonprofit helping struggling teens. and i would like to thank you because, because of your stimulus funding to community health clinics, i now have a new job helping people who are -- [applause] >> -- mostly uninsured. i made therapist. so i wanted to thank you for that but there was a crap in there where i lost my insurance in between losing my job with a nonprofit and my current job. and i would like to ask you how you will help people with that
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gap when they are unemployed. >> first of all, the recovery package, the stimulus help people precisely with that gap when we said we will cover 65% of the cost of cobra. how many people here have been on cobra, or try to get on cobra? so just for those of you who aren't familiar with it, if you lose your job, under federal law you are able to access something called cobra, which allows you to pay the premiums through the health insurance that you had until you find your next job. sounds like a good deal. here is the only problem. as i said before, most of us don't realize how much our insurance costs our employers. because we are not seeing the actual bill that is being paid mostly by our employers. so when we lose our job, suddenly we get this bill for a thousand dollars or $1200, or $1500 a month. and that is absolutely the worst time for you to have to come up with that money is when you have lost your job.
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so what we did was, we said because this is such an extraordinary crisis, let's pick up 65% of that, temporarily, so that the huge numbers of people who have lost their jobs because of his financial downturn, they get a little bit more of a cushion. now, that was the initial help that we wanted to do to provide that bridge. when we pass health reform, you are going to be in a position where, first of all, you will be able to select a plan that you can carry with you, whether you have lost your job or not. and depending on your income levels, you will also be qualified for a tax credit that will help you pay and continue your coverage, even if you have lost your job. and for a lot of people, this is especially important for a lot of people who are self-employed. because increasingly, you know, if you're a consultant, you are
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somebody who is has opened up your own shop, a little mom-and-pop store somewhere, you are the people who have the toughest time getting insurance. because you just don't have enough employees and for the insurance companies to take you seriously. that's why what we want to do is create an exchange. it's like a marketplace where you can go and choose from a menu of different options. different kinds of plans that you think might be right for you. and one of the options that is being debated is should there be a public auction. op.[applause] >> i did what was planus briefly because this is where the whole myth of a government takeover of health care comes from, and not even every democrat agrees on the public option but i want at least people to be informed about what the debate is about. the id is if you go to the market place and you are choosing from a bunch of different options, should one of the options be a government run
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plan that still charges you premiums, you still have to pay for it just like private insurance, but government would not -- this government option would not have the same profit motive. it would obviously be like a non-for-profit. it would have potentially lower overhead. so it might be able to give you a better deal. should you be able to choose from that option among many others. that's what the debate is about. [applause] >> what the opponents of a public option will argue is you can't have a level playing field if government gets in the business of providing health insurance, they will drive private insurers out of the health insurance market. that's the argument that is made. and that is a legitimate, it's a fair concern. especially if the public option was being subsidized by
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taxpayers. right? if they could just keep losing money and still stay in business, after a wild, they would run everybody else out. and that's why any discussion of a public option has said that it's got to pay for itself, it is not subsidized by private insurers. the only point i want to make about this is whether you are for or against a public option, just understand that the public option is not a government takeover of the health insurance. everybody here who still has current private insurance, you know, you would more than likely still be on your private insurance plan your employers wouldn't stop suddenly providing health insurance. so that is where this idea of government run health care came from. it is not an accurate portrayal of the debate that is going on in you can right now. all right? it is a gentleman's turn. this gentleman right there. right there. yes, sir. desser. >> think you.
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given your comments regarding the public option, i would like, if you could, to comment on the following, and also welcome and thank you. i believe in reform as well. i have learned that medicare pays about 94% of hospital costs. and i have learned that medicaid pays 84% of hospital cost. and i have learned this from a reputable source, my brother, who is chief administrative officer at a large hospital group. he also explains to me when i communicate with them that private insurers, his hospital, collects about 135% of costs from private insurers, and that makes up the difference. so if public option is out there, will it pay for its way, or will it be underfunded like medicare and medicaid? they could. >> it's a great question and i'll try to be sustained on this. this is a complicated area. anybody who has ever gotten a
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bill from a hospital knows it's a competition area. but here's the short answer. i believe that medicare should -- medicare and medicaid should not be updating savings just by squeezing providers. now, in some cases, we should change the delivery system so that providers have a better incentive to provide smarter care. right? so they are treating the illness instead of just how many tests are done or how many mris are done or what have you. lets pay for are you curing the patient. but that is different from simply saying, you know what, we need to save some money so let's cut payments to doctors by 10% and see how that works out. because that's where you do end up having the effect you are talking about. if they are only collecting $0.80 on the dollar, they've got to make that up somewhere, and they end up getting it from people who have private insurance. this is true also by the way of
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emergency room care. each of us spent, even though we don't know it, our employer pays for it so we don't notice it on our tab, each of us spends about $8000 per family, maybe $900 per family, paying for uncompensated care. people without health insurance, going in, getting fixed up, that money comes from somewhere. it comes from you. you just don't see it on your bill. and so if we can help provide coverage to people so that they are getting regular primary care and they are not going to the emergency room, we will obtain some savings. and that is partly going to randy's earlier question, that is partly how we will that is partly how we will end up giving people health insurance. we are already paying for it right now, we just do not notice it. we are paying for uncompensated care that is subsidized by the
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rest of us that have health insurance. i think this is the signal that i only have a few more questions. i will take two or questions. if i am in montana, i have to call somebody with a cowboy hat, absolutely. >> montana ambassadress, we are a business advisory group appointed by the governor. i would like to welcome you on behalf of the montana ambassadors. >> you make a great ambassador. >> i am glad you called me. my question has to do with the cobra question. i owned a lumberyard in a beautiful little town of 1000 people about 30 miles southwest of here. when the economy took a nosedive, i was forced to take my work force from 11 people to
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six. . . provide things in my responsibility on like to take care of our peeps so to speak. >> is that a montana phrase? peeps? [applause] [laughter] . . they were pretty much out on their own and i was wondering what we can do to eliminate discrimination against small employers. we are a lumberyard, we are out there lifting things all day. every one of my employees are fit. why are we able to provide a lesser level of benefits to my employees and yet an employer
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with 30 employers who have cubicles and they sit on their butt, they get a better rate? >> that is a pretty good question. [laughter] [applause] for all of you who are sitting on your -- what did you call them? [laughter] small businesses are probably as vulnerable as anyone. one of the things that max has been working very hard on, this does not get advertised so i want to make sure everyone is paying attention. why don't we give a substantial subsidy to help small businesses, allow their employees to get health insurance? there are employers who want to do the right thing but you are operating on small margins and
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you have no leverage with the insurance companies. there are two ways that we want to help, we want the small business to bite into the exchange. that allows you to use the purchasing power of everyone in the exchange to get the best rates from the insurance companies. that right away would drive down the premiums that you have to pay. the second thing that we want to do is for employers doing the right thing and providing health insurance that is real, we want to give you a tax break so that it is easier for you to make the bottom line. this is something that a lot of small businesses will benefit from, no one is talking about it. since small businesses are the place where you are seeing the fastest job growth, it makes sense for us to provide this data protection. this will end up being an important component of whatever
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we pass in washington. more question. it's a guy's turn. i want somebody who's got a concern or skeptical about health care reform. here we go, there we go. i knew we could find a couple here. so i'll call on this gentleman right here in the pale blue shirt. hopefully that list is not too long. all right. go ahead and introduce yourself. >> i'm mark montgomery. i appreciate you coming here. it's great to be able to do this. >> thank you. >> mr. president, i make a living selling individual health insurance. [laughter] >> that's okay. obviously i pay very close attention to this insurance debate. as you know the health insurance companies are in favor of health care reform and have a number of very good proposals for congress
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to work with government to provide insurance for the uninsured and cover individuals with preexisting conditions. why is it that you've changed your strategy from talking about health care reform to health insurance reform and decided to bill if i the insurance company? >> okay. that's a fair question. first of all, you are absolutely right that the insurance companies in some cases have been constructive. i'll give you a particular example. etna has been drying to work with us in dealing with the preexisting condition stuff. that's absolutely true. there are other companies who have done the same. i want to just be honest with you. in some cases what we've seen is also funding in opposition by some other insurance companies so any kind of reform proposals. my intent is not to billfy
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insurance companies. if i was, we would be saying that private insurance has no place in the market. i don't believe that. let's work with the existing system. we have private insurers. we have to make sure that certain practices that are very tough on people, those practices change. now at one point i want to make about insurance, some of the reforms that we want for the insurance market are very hard to achieve unless we've got everybody covered. this is the reason the insurance companies are willing to support reform, because their attitude is if we can't exclude people were preexisting conditions, for example, if we can't cherry pick the healthy folks from the not-so-healthy folks well that
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means that we're taking on more people with more expensive care. what's in it for us? the answer is they have more customers. and they are willing to make sure they are eliminating some of these practices. so it's important when people ask me, why don't you do the insurance reform stuff and not expand coverage for more people, my answer is i can't do the insurance reform stuff by itself. the only way that we can change some of the insurance practices that are hurting people now is to make sure that everybody's covered and everybody's got a stake in it. then the insurance company are able and willing to make some of the changes. but thank you for the question. i appreciate it. [applause] >> all right. even though i shouldn't do this,
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i'm going to take one more question. and i'm going to call on this person right here to get the last word. all right. >> thank you. >> go ahead. >> thank you, mr. president. and thank you for coming to belgrade and bringing your family to the last best place in the world. because you're a constitutional scholar, i think it would be terrible to let you escape from montana without sharing with you the most per spect preamble to the state constitution. >> i'd like to hear this. this is a good way to end. >> we the people of montana grateful to god for the quite beauty, the mountains, rolling plains, trying to improve the quality of life, the quality of
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opportunity, to share the best things of liberty for this and future generations and establish this constitution. i hope you take a look at the whole constitution. you'll like it. >> that's very nice. thank you. montana you've been terrific. i hope this has been informative. thank you for the questions. let's get to work. thank you. [applause] [cheers and applause]
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>> and do you want to know what has the highest cost? medicare. that is a proven fact. they have the highest administrative cost of any plan. they are the most expensive. >> i did not expect this big of a turnout. >> health care now. health care now. >> nobody listens. we jump up and down and we get excited and we raise our hands and we write letters and no one listens. when we start getting excited
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according to what they're saying, oh, they are radicals. you did not listen to us by letters, by phone calls. what does it take for you to listen to us the first time? >> health care now. health care now. >> i would like to see health care for everyone. i want to see affordable health care for everyone. there is a population that is not on to their. almost everyone that can are well-to-do and they have insurance. there are those that need to be heard. i am a nurse practitioner and i'm in the health-care feared. -- field. i thought that we are going to hear the talk about the deal but we did not get that. i'm kind of disappointed. i want to ask some questions on
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a national level. >> i feel that this is a very unfair issue. i am against abortion and in this care as a nurse, i would have to do abortions against my rights. i feel that is very unfair. a system that is supposed to be giving to people, this is about the government taking control of our lives, talking about what is going on our lives. >> i am against what they're trying to do in congress as far as medical health care and socialized medicine by the federal government. that is not good for everyone. >> if you want to call it socialism, it is better than what we have now. >> my turn, i have is born in cuba. i sneaked in medicine and see
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what can a socialized medicine that they have. there is human feces on the floor. if it is so great, how come cuba had to bring a doctor in from spain? >> i lived in spain, the socialized system works great. the system works great. i lived in spain and people were taken care of from birth to a desk under a fair system, it doesn't cost anyone anything. >> people from the surrounding area have come to their coffee shop and they are talking about national policy. that is a pretty powerful thing. we may not agree or disagree with everyone that this year but the congressman is working his way through talking to as many people as we can. we scheduled this in january. we did this every month. this is our 52nd since the
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congressman has been elected. this is the largest crowd. >> the government has no business running mine -- >> we have become -- when you look at other countries, they're people just die, they don't have health care. we need to have proper health care. this is only way that we can start. we have to start someplace. >> as congress continues its summer recess, we want to hear from you. are you attending a town hall in your community? what do you think about the proposals being debated? share your thoughts with us on video. >> now, and look at some of the health care advertisements that
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members of congress and the public at large are seeing during the recess. >> the first is an opposition. the second is founded by howard dean and it targets the nebraska senator. >> i survived a brain tumor but if i had relied on my government for health care, i would be dead. i am a canadian citizen. as my brain tumor got worse, my system told me that i had to wait six months to see a specialist. in six months, i would have died. >> in canada, care is delayed or denied. some wait a year for vital surgery's. delays that can be deadly. many drugs and treatments are not available because people are not worth it.
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>> i live today because i was able to travel to the u.s. to receive treatment. government health care is not the answer and it is not free. >> now washington wants to bring canadian-style health care to the u.s.. should the government come between you and your doctor? >> my advice to americans -- as patients, it is your care. don't give up your rights. >> for six years, i have run this business. last week, my health insurance agent called and he told me that my rates were going to go up 42% from last year. i cannot afford that. i might have to cancel the coverage. i pray that my kids don't get sick. when president obama makes a proposal that would force the insurance companies to compete and lower rates, that is what my family needs. now i hear that ben nelson, the senator that i voted for, is
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leading the charge to delay health reform. that is exactly what they want. the health and insurance companies that have given him over $2 million know that if they can stall reform, they can kill it. i have asked, senator, whose side are you on? state work, my family cannot wait for reform. ko>> as the health care conversation continues, the health care. is a key recess -- resource. keep up with house and senate debates, even up load your opinion about health care with a citizen video. the c-span health care ohub.
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>> coming up, howard dean on health care. then senator specter and rep sestak speak at the net reed's convention. then arthur fred kaplan. >> the blogger is conference is meeting in pittsburgh. we will have live coverage of the session to mark. scheduled speakers include congressman tom price, john shattuck as well as michelle malkin and grover norquist. >> this fall, into the home to the biggest court. to the grand public places to those only accessible by the justices.
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"the supreme court," is coming this fall. >> howard dean held a town hall meeting on health care. it was part of the net roots nation conference in pittsburgh. this is a little bit over one hour. >> thank you. >> do you want to start with some opening remarks. >> sure. i'm really looking forward to this. let me just say a couple things. first of all, the people in this room are going to be the most important people in america over the next 8 to 10 weeks while we get this thing done, because we're seeing extraordinary things being said that are flatout not true, there's maliciously untrue and the only way to counter those is the
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netsukes we really need your help. secondly, there's been a lot of talk about health care reform. there's only one piece of real reform in this bill for health care. there's a couple of pieces of insurance reform which are worth doing, but the only piece of health care reform that's worth doing left is the public option. the public option -- [applause] >> people say can't there be a compromise. we have already compromised. the public option is the compromise between the single payer and the private sector. we can't go any further. there's nothing else to do here. if you give away the public option, you have no health insurance reform and we ought not to put the next generation into $60 billion worth of debt every single year. just get rid of the bill, do insurance reform, guaranteed community rating and call it a day. we need the public option. if anyone is serious about real choice for the american people, we need the public option and we're not asking to put our stamp of approval on what
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americans have to do. we're asking this. let the american people reform health care. we know the congress won't do it. give the american people the opportunity to reform health care. give them the choice. all we're asking is let them have the choice of a public program or a private program and they will reform the american health care system and you have to make sure that they understand, this is a clear vote. this is not a vote between democrats or republicans or conservatives and liberals. this is a vote, 72% of the american people want the choice and 50% of republicans want the choice. this is a vote for whether you're standing up for the insurance companies or standing up for its american people and we're going to track every single one of those 535 votes. thank you law. [applause] >> so governor dean, i work with the teachers union, and we have members all throughout the country, but in texas, for instance, we have members in
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fort bend texas, some of them are teachers aides and they make $17,000 a year. we fought for a pay increase, we got only half of what they needed. they do have health care, but the thing is even with the pay increase, because there's a scheduled increase to their health care benefits, that increase is eaten up right by these rising costs, so my question to you is -- and i know there are a lot of very smart people here that know all the ins and outs of health care policy, but for folks like that who are being squeezed, how do we make the plain english argument? they're hearing a lot of misinformation, but how do we make a very plain clear english argument to them? >> you have to control costs. we need to control costs without rationing, which is a no-brainer, because we waste 70% of the -- we spend 70% more than the next most expensive system, which is canada and germany, to there's plenty -- one of the biggest wastes honestly is the return on equity the private insurance companies get, because there's just a tremendous amount of money that goes out of the
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health care system, so how do you control the cost? one, and doctors a hospitals in massachusetts just vote today do this, eliminate fee for service medicine. that's not in the bill. that's not in the bill. but most doctors in this country, most primary care doctors would be glad to do that, because we actually get paid less here, primary care doctors get paid less in the united states of america than in great britain, which is one of the bugaboos of the right wing. there are some fundamental reforms, but you can't get to the reforms, unless you have shall more marketing power, which is why the public option is so important. so if the public option takes hold and folks, whether they're in the teacher's union or private sector wor or working fa small business and choose the private option, if that gets home, there will be ways of controlling costs. kaiser is actually a model for this. it's in the non-profit sector.
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they are the insurance company, the tertiary provider and the primary provider and because they're totally integrated, they will make investments in prevention because they know they get the savings at the end. but in order to get that kind reform, you can't continue with the current system that we have based solely on private insurance. it doesn't work. it doesn't work. >> so in plain english, it would be like the current system doesn't work. >> the current system will not control costs ever. medicare does a much better job of controlling cost, one because it's more efficient and two, because they have some price control structures that work for them. now, that's now perfect either. medicare has one of about two points above the rate of inflation over the last 30 years. it's just too much. but the private sector has gone up at 2.5 times the rate of in plagues over the last 30 years, which is making working people really suffer, because their health care costs go up higher than their salaries do and therefore they never get an increase and it's making our business community suffer. what we're doing now is madness
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for our business community, because they're paying for a commodity that goes up 2.5 times the rate of inflation and we can't compete on china on labor costs, we can't compete with canada, germany and france because testify government-run systems and the community doesn't have to pay for them. >> dr. dean, i have a question from bobby, at i am really, really, really, really angry.com. are you going to seek appointment to the death panel and will there -- is killing my grandma mandatory or will there be an appeal process? >> i actually am going to give a serious answer to that. you have to understand what's happening in this country. the truth is these meetings are not about health care.
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they're not. [applause] the people that you see -- i'm not talking about people who ask questions and disagree. i've been doing book signings and i have plenty of conservatives that come to the book signings and ask questions and tier great. the people horshouting down their congress people are very angry, an they're angry for three reasons. one is the republicans have been running on anger for 40 years, this started with the southern strategy in 1968, anger, you know, against the people who are protesting the vietnam war and so forth. and karl rove used to talk about polling for anger points and finding them and that's why various minority groups, african-americans, immigrants, gay people, hispanics, have been the target of the republican party over the last eight or so elections. because he polls for anger points and then makes people go to polls because they get angry, so these are the angry people.
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they're not going to turn their anger offer. secondly, look carefully at who is shouting their congress people down. they don't look anything like the generation that elected barack obama. this election was the first time in my lifetime where more people voted who were under 35 than over 65. that's incredible in politics, which means this is the new generation's president. so this is a group of people who feel incredibly threatened and incredibly angry and of course, the politics of the younger generation is different than the politics of think generation. they're pretty contentious and polarized and it's not and it's important not to stay so polarized for the future of the country. what you see happening is a small group getting smaller and smaller because of the politics and the way they express themselves is less and less attractive than the younger generation who is now in charge of this country and as they get smaller they get angrier and the third thing is that they have a president who they're not
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accustomed to -- the kind of president they're not accustomed to seeing in the would you say. and -- in the white house. tough is change in america. i thought about this a lot and my initial reaction was to be mad at all these people who are yelling and screaming. it reminded me a lot of when i signed civil unions, which is the first bill of its kind in the country, and i'll tell you why. you know, i always had a lot of -- i'm actually not as liberal as everybody thinks i am. and i actually had a bill following among sort of moderate people and even republicans and independent business types, not certainly the right wing and people were really angry. i'd go to neighborhoods that i had been popular if before and people would be creaming the f word at me and i had to have police people with me and stuff and it was an extraordinary degree of anger. it wasn't that their marriage would be in trouble because gay
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people have equal rights. it was the change. it was the idea that they counted on before, a certain set of things they believed in before they couldn't believe in anymore. that's what's really going on in these meetings and of course our instinct is to say no, that's not really in the bill. i saw arlen specter on television the other fight, somebody said something did the death penalty and he said that's not in the bill and he said yes, yes, it is. in the bill. they don't want to hear what's in the bill or not because this is not about the bill but it is about how the election of barack obama. there is a new generation taking over with a different way of doing things and that is what the real issue is that these meetings. [applause] >> when i asked people what questions i should ask, i got a
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lot of response from women and those that blog about reproductive rights. there is concerned about women's access to choice is going to be protected in all of these various bills. i realize we don't know what is in each bill but i think that tom foley laid this out about the language for protection access to abortion was noticeably blank. how do we make sure that women's health care and choices protected as we move forward? >> we are talking about the public auction because the government doesn't have a right and i don't think they will talking about telling health insurance what they can and can't cover. secondly, the way this bill was originally set up.
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there has been many versions but the original way was that congress is not going to define and benefit package and it never was. it makes no sense for them to design the benefit package. the benefit package is going to be designed by a separate panel that will be set up, so the people who have injected this issue into the debate are people who are trying to sidetrack the bill. this was not an issue in the debate, because everybody who was in congress knew that the question of reproductive rights was going to be addressed when the benefit package was designed by an independent panel, presumably appointed by the president or the secretary of h.h.s. more likely. the debate we're now seeing, in my view, ought to be handled not by putting language in to prevent access to reproductive health care, but by letting the panel make that decision. the panel is likely to be a
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panel of fairly distinguished health care providers, i would guess, and some people in the other associated industries, what i call the medica medical-industrial complex. i don't think that they are going to break ground, huge new ground in terms of abortion restriction. maybe they will. but i think we're much safer having this issue dealt with in a panel of people who are not politically appointed and politically influenced or influenced by being special interests, than we are of having -- starting to decide which benefits get what, who gets what benefits in the congress of the united states. that's not a debate we need to have in congress. that's a -- that's an actuarial situation and i think it ought to be treated that way. >> when we are working on the health care issue in the early 1990's, in the clinton white house, i remember you were down a lot, you were sort of a point person for the democratic
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governors on the issue. what do you think is different about today's debate andry hopeful that we can overcome a lot of the same obstacles that we had then, that are rearing their head. are you hopeful that the politics of it has changed enough that we can get something done? >> i know the politics has changed a lot. it's enormous. we're winning this debate and the reason you know that we're winning the debate is because when folks have to get to the level that they've gotten to now on the other side where they just invent stuff, you know they're desperate. they're absolutely desperate. they're just making things up and they're telling an increasingly smaller group of folks, who are a behaving i would say outside the mainstream usual behavior, what happens when people go to meetings. and again, -- i think actually, i know this is probably not a popular thing to say here, i think the blue dogs have had a very positive influence on the bill, because you need -- you're going to have a bill that's going to apply to all americans,
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you need to have somebody representing conservatives and moderates. the republicans basically have refused to engage if any serious discussions about this bill of any kind. somebody has to do it, it might as well be the conservative and moderate wing of the republican party. one thing they have done is what they're doing for small businesses. one of the things the blue dogs have insisted on and i hope this continues as the bill moves through. if you have a small business with a payroll of under half a million dollars, you don't have any requirement to get health insurance for your employees at all. that's basically left up to the government which will supply subsidy based on income and why is that great 70 small business creates 80% of the new jobs. we never do anything for small business in either party, we always talk about it. this would be a huge boost to the small business community, would allow them to compete with bigger businesses and create por jobs. that's a very positive thing. there are a lot of things in this bill that -- there was a few things that blue dogs did i didn't agree with, but mostly that's a positive bill. we're in good shape in this
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bill. the press never covers substance, you wouldn't know that from reading the papers, but the fact of the matter is this bill has passed four committees, three in the house and i believe there will be a good bill in the house with a strong public option and one in the senate. dodd has done a nice job, the senate bill is very good. their small business approach is 25 employees or less. i would like to see a million dollar payroll or 50 employer he's on less on the small business side. but i think we're making real progress. i think beer winning this fight. i think after all is said and done, we're going to go back to washington. i actually predict this is going to go past the senate and reck sellation, because i don't think any republicans have any intention as grassley said the other day of supporting this bill under any circumstances. even the ones who would cooperate in a reasonable way are going to get so beat up by their caucus and their base, that they're not going to dare, which is what you saw in des moines the other day, when senator grassley was talking. i think we'll pass the bill, i think it will have a public
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option, i think we'll use reconciliation in the senate to do it, but i think it's going to be an ugly process. >> i want to ask a question from the single payer perspective. we have a lot of single payer folks who are here. [applause] >> i had a feeling that would get, you know, and i've gotten a lot of questions on twitter and facebook about why didn't the democrats start with the single payer option and try to move the debate toward the middle, sort of as you were suggesting at the beginning. do you think that was a strategic mistake and do you think there's something now? we've got a question from twitter, how can we move the public debate now, so that it -- the public option is more of the centrist option as opposed to the option on the left? >> i do i it is a mistake. i think it was a hangover from the old democratic party. what happened was i think people -- people thought
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initially, both in the house and the senate leadership in the white house, that somehow single payer had become a word like liberal, which the framers on the right managed to define in the american lexicon, as a bad word and so they thought that by saying single payer is off the table, they would have a reasonable debate. er we're not going a debate about health care in this country anymore. we're having a shouting match and the other side is not interested in health care reform. they just know they have to say they are because franklin has told them so, so the debate is done. they're not interested in debate. and the public option is a very reasonable position, but it is the compromise. it is the compromise position, and without it, there's no -- there's no serious reform can take place, as i said before. looking back on it, there are some things, whether you like the single payer or whether you don't, you have to respect the facts. the facts about a single payer, whether you like the single payer or you don't, is it is
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more efficient, it only expense about 4% of our money on administration, and the rest is spent on health care, unlike the private non-profit sector which expense 12% or the for-profit which at best expense 20% on overhead and therefore only 80% and some companies of course take out much more than that. so i think with the single payer should have been on the table from the beginning. i don't think we would have had votes for it in congress but we would have had a better, more comprehensive debate if we had a discussion about 676. >> i wonder if judy just wrote that on your facebook page? mike lux has a question, how can we involve more health care professionals in the debate and actually, i got the same question from mara in massachusetts. she asked me the same thing, because she's actually having doctors tell her, once obama gets his way, like this that and
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the other is going to fall apart, so the health care progressional themselves, some of them, seem to be against the public option or are afraid of what this is going to do to the health care. >> i'll telling you about the polling on this which is very interesting. first of all, the american medical association, you could have knocked me over with a feather with this, which i've never been a member of, has endorsed henry waxman's bill. that is like ronald reagan and mikhail gorbachev shaking hands. it's incredible. secondly, over the last 15 years, the health insurance industry has treated both patients and doctors so badly that the significant majority of primary care physicians is not through a specialist, but the majority of primary care physicians in america favors single payer, not just the public option but a single payer. so that's a comment on the horrible bureaucracy and the
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probable thames their patients are having as well as them. so anecdotally, i'm sure doctors are worried and say things, but as i said before, most doctor's wages, if you're in a primary care are lower than they are for great britain. i think doctors are not dumb and they figured this out. they are better off with a real -- with real health care reform, and so there's some doctors who react just like everybody else in america, change always makes you nervous, but i think most doctors really understand that you do need change and the majority of primary care physicians think you'll have a single payer. >> i want to ask a followup question to that. i was in oregon recently, and did a panel there with some folks that are here today. carla, among others, and there was a great young woman there, who i really enjoyed talking to, who was going to medical school, and she was talking about the incentives were all on going
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into specialties. and was worried that for people like herself, who wanted to go into general practice, that the economic incentives weren't there, and that it was going to take a long time to change that. what do you think we ought to be focusing on in terms of health reform that can change that, have you seen things in the different bills that are out there that will take us in the right direction in terms of more primary care physicians. >> interestingly enough, another area where the blue dogs made the bill better in the house. they said you can't use medicare rates and a lot of people reacted negatively to that. medicare rates are one of the things that is making it so impossible to practice primary care. they're too low. in my state, when i was governor, we did guaranteed issued rating and a lot of the insurance companies left, which was great, because they're all the ones you wouldn't want in your state anyway but the ones that stayed are doing a pretty good job and the other thing we
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did was raid pediatricians medicaid rate i can't matically. why? we got a waiver from the clinton administration to use medicaid to make health care, middle class entitlement for people up to 18. if you make $66,000, i think it is now, in vermont, everybody under 18 in your family is eligible for health insurance if you pay $480 a year. it's a pretty good deal. so essentially 99% of everybody upped 18 years old in my state is eligible for health insurance. and 96% have it. 3% we can't find to sign up. which actually sometimes happens in european countries as well. so -- but in order to do that, we had to raise pediatricians' reimbursement rates, because they were horribly low under medicaid rates. so theirs thing is to raise reimbursements rates to primary care. secondly, if you want to get more primary care physicians,
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then you've got to deal with the debt they incur. the reason they go into specialties, not so much for the money, there are doctors who just go to medical school because they want to make a lot of money, but most of them go because they like patients and like people and want to make the world a better place and if you make it easier for them to go and practice primary care, but not having them have a debt load of $100,000 or $150,000 when they leave, they're more likely to go into primary care. [applause] >> and the 3rd is -- third is we all have to get with the program on primary care. doctors consequence don't always like to hear me say is a qualified, competent, nurse practitioner can do about 65% of this stuff as an internist. so we have to get the medical establishment and the american people used to seeing, a phrase that i hate, called physician extenders, or nurse practitioners, physician assistants. the most important quality of a
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great nurse practitioner is not how much medicine he or she knows. it's how well they know what they don't know. in fact, that's the most important quality in a primary care physician is well, is how much up know about what you don't know so that when something really complicated gets in, you can refer it up the chain hand that's the key. so again, physician extenders, so-called. i'm an advocate of allowing nurse practitioners to be able to practice independently from physicians without supervision. especially in rural states, that's very, very important. helping people with their medical school bills so they don't -- if you go into primary care, you don't end up in debt. we want knut new systems that are from upgraded.
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president bush did put a lot of money into fqfc's. that is a very good thing for giving health care to middle- class people and expanding primary care. the person that asked the question about medical school and whether her children should be doctors, the answer is absolutely yes. some of these things that i have talked about are in fact in the reform bill. >> nothing brings along a bunch of doctors like bringing paybacks. from the audience, linda underwood from new york says "a candidate for county legislature, she would like to know how she frames the health- care debate." >> the first is who gets to
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choose, and to the american people get to choose or is the congress and the insurance companies, to make that choice for you -- do the american people get to choose or is the congress and the insurance company's going to choose for you. the answer is we would like that choice ourselves. ourself. the second way to frame it is, the american people have made it very clear what they want. they want the choice, so are you going to vote for the people who pay your salary or are you going to vote for the people who contribute to your campaign.
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really make he can lots of money. i said in the book, there's an extension of what's been going on on wall street for the last 15 years. it's free card monty and if there's a public option run by the government, it might not be the most perfectly run thing, although it would be a lot cheaper and more efficient, but it would certainly give them incentive for the insurance companies if they wanted to stay in business, to start becoming more consumer friendly. >> so one of the least talked about issues in this whole debate and yet, one of the most
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important at the end of the day, with people are judging how good a bill this is is the whole issue of affordability. and there's a lot of discussion about how to not only make sure that people have health insurance, but how to make sure that it's affordable, that there are subsidies for lower income folks. do you have a view as to how to best make this bill affordable for middle income folks as well as the folks at the very low end on the poverty level. >> well, let me say from the outset, before i answer the question, that when i was writing the book, i promised myself, after i got about halfway through it, the only thing i was really going to focus on intensely was the insurance reform that's essential guaranteed issue in community rating and i mean real community rating, not a band of 100%, where you can charge somebody twice as much if they're sick. kind of like in vermont, the only thing you can charge a sick patient is 20% above the bottom
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rate of a healthy patient and the public health care reform. but i wasn't going to criticize or make a lot of public suggestions about anything else in the bill, whether it's tax policy and the reason i'm not going to do that is people in congress do have a hard job. no matter what at the do, tier going to make somebody mad at them in an issue like this, it makes them very uncomfortable and it's easy for me to criticize everything they do, since i don't have to cast a vote. so the thing i want to focus on is the most important thing, the tax policy is important, but it's not as important as the public option. the insurance reform is important, but if you do the public option, the insurance companies will have to reform themselves or they will be out of business and they'll make that choice for themselves. so now i'm going to give a theoretical answer to the question, but not one that i would go to war on because i think the public option is so important, and the stakes are so high for that, it's not worth fighting about much else. and that is, that if you really wants to make this cost efficient, we talked about ending fee for service medicine,
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i think that's going to happen over time because i think the doctors themselves -- the primary care people themselves will realize they'll do better if they do it and frankly, they don't want to be told that they've got to see patients every six minutes in order to make a certain quota. they don't want to be told and encouraged to do stuff that's not necessary. they'll do it beings but they don't like it. they don't like to practice the way they're practicing either. it's not just the patients that are upset with what's going oranges it's doctors that are upset with the incentive system we have. it's all backwards and encourages them to practice bad medicine and do too many things to people and it's not a good setup. the public option will encourage them to do reforms. drg's were a way of paying inside a global budget how you could deliver health care and once you go in if you're on medicare to the hospital, they can do a whole lot of stuff to you or not so much stuff and they don't get paid much differently except for -- well, i'm not going to get in to that because it's too complicated, so
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i do think there will be cost controls, the public option will probably lead the way on cost control and they'll force the insurance to do more cost controls. right now they do cost controls but they do cost controls that are incredibly consumer unfriendly and they also do cost controls because they want to crank up their bottom line to their quarterly reports look good for wall street and that's the wrong way to do cross controls. if they continue to do that. they'll put themselves out of business if we give the american public a decent option. [applause] >> i was emailed a question from gail, who is in d.c. her sister's leukemia is now in recession, largely due to an experimental medical trial that she was a part of. so how would you say we can keep innovation -- medical innovation as a part of this discussion in health care reform? >> this is a complex answer for this.
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which also may not be as popular among some quarters here as it might be. there is a role for the private sector in medicine. everybody likes to beat up on the pharmaceutical industry. the pharmaceutical industry only costs about 10% of the total health care budget. they are incredibly innovative. the drugs that put your sister in remission were invented in some pharmaceutical company's lab. we want to keep the extraordinary innovation of the system. there's also another area where there's a lot of innovation. i've beat up on insurance companies i think with good reason. but there are some insurance companies that are better than others, a lot of -- you know, one of the big issues that i talk about if the book also, one of the problems has to do with the whole model and we're all guilty of this. we need to move from an illness model of medicine to a wellness model of medicine in this country. [applause] >> and the government has done some things in this regard, and
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the insurance industry has done some things in this regard. the very best people who have done the most to move this -- and we haven't made much progress but we're making some but the people who have done the most are a, integrated outfits, like kaiser, or large corporations which are self-insured. when you think about that, if everybody could be in that model, we wouldn't solve the cross problem, but we would solve two other problems. we'd solve the community rating problem. if you went to work for a big company like microsoft or ibm or general electric or someplace like that, you get pretty good insurance coverage, no matter in you're 60 years old with a series of illnesses or 20 years old and you've never been sick a day in your life. so you have community rating an guaranteed issue. you can't lose your insurance unless you lose your job, which, you know, is a big problem, and those are exactly the companies that are doing the best job in
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terms of encouraging wellness. they do a better job than anybody else in the system. they start to change the incentives. they get rid of all the crap in the cafeteria that you shouldn't be heat and put in healthy stuff. they often give free health club memberships. some of them unfortunately take attendance to see if you go to the health club or not. which we probably could do without. but because they have control over their health care world and they're responsible for the cost. that's one place where people actually do invest in prevention, because they know they're going to pay the price if they don't. it's sort of a mini integrative system if you call 100,000 or 150,000 employees a mini system. so the points i'm trying to peak sheer is, i take a non-ideological approach this this. i think we need a public option and i think we need to allow people under 65 to have what people over 65 have, which is a government run program, if they want, but i don't think we ought to run away from the positive contributions that the sector
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has made. one is the pharmaceutical industry for all we beat up on them for their ads, does make extraordinary advances that makes big differences in people's lives and the big corporations that give self-insured programs do make a real effort in my view to switch us. they get that a wellness model is better than an illness model. the problem is how can we in this incredibly fragmented situation switch as a country on the whole, the private insurance is going to be the post likely to change behavior over a wide scale. >> question from the audience from bruce from rochester hills, and he asks, whether you think that president obama should focus so much on bipartisanship on health care when no republicans are going to vote for the legislation anyway. >> well, actually, i think he's doing the right thing, i'll tell you why. as long as he understands that
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